Tuesday, March 31, 2020

March 31, 2020

COVID19thoughts, encouragement, new normal

What if this is your new normal?

What if whatever unusual situation you find yourself in today becomes your way of life for the next three months, or even the next three years?

Does that thought cause you dread, anxiety, or even grief? As Americans we have had it oh so good for oh so long that we might have, as a collective nation, forgotten what it is like to struggle for existence.

If we were to take a look back in our history, we would find that our grandparents, and for some of us our great grandparents, knew exactly what it meant to sacrifice and struggle. They are now referred to as the Greatest Generation - those born from 1901-1924, those who grew up during the Great Depression and served and worked during WWII.

For those of them that were children at the outset of WWI, I doubt they understood the sacrifices their families were making to send men off to war. They only knew what had happened in their short lifetimes, and that varied widely based upon where they lived and their economic status. Some had been in cities with a natural gas boom, or where cars were being seen as a new mode of transportation, not just a toy for the rich. Others lived in rural areas and life continued on as it had for the decades before they were born. This Great Generation grew up during a war, lived through the depression, and served in the following war.

We are currently facing a war of a different kind: a war against a virus that threatens to undo our world’s economy, and for many of us, our current way of life. How do we explain this to our children? How do we even wrap our own minds around our change in circumstances from only a month ago? One day at a time - one prayer at a time. Our children know their own “normal” - what we need to help them understand is their new normal, as we navigate our own. Prayer is the first step, loving each other is the second.

We do not know what the future will bring. Only God can see outside of linear time. In three weeks’ time will the curve of new cases be flattened, even gone? Or will it take three months or even a year before our lives attempt to return to what we used to think of as normal?

In the midst of all this uncertainty, what are we to do? What should we be called to do? Let us each start by doing our part. Today in your home, or at work if your job has been labelled essential, let’s each do our part. Wash laundry, cook meals, stock groceries, care for the sick - whatever your part is in the fabric of our nation - go do it. And do it well. In Colossians 3:23 Paul admonished fellow believers “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.”

We are called to work heartily. Whether that is a third grader working to master long division or a CEO re-writing the budget so their employees are paid, work heartily. Work hard. Give it your best effort today, and again tomorrow. God is watching. He wants us to be a blessing to those around us and not a burden. One way to do that is by doing our part - without complaining.

Do the hard work of prayer. Your life, regardless of how it looks today, offers you the opportunity to pray for others. Instead of joining in the masses who are complaining about our elected officials doing too much or too little in this crisis - spend that time in prayer for them. Pray for your family, your neighbors, your local firemen, EMT’s, the Doctors and nurses at your local hospital. Pray for those who are still working at the grocery store or the gas station. Pray for those working at home, the unemployed, those in quarantine, those in the hospital. Then do the really hard work of praying for those who have lost a loved one to this virus. You have time to pray today - use it wisely.

My final admonition for you today is to not give up hope! Looking back through history we see both good times and bad. They alternate. This too shall pass. There will be an eventual end to this virus and the havoc it is causing in our world. In Romans 5 we are reminded that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces character, and character, hope. Why? Because the Holy Spirit pours God’s love into our hearts. If this all sounds foreign to you, I encourage you to read the Gospel of John. You can read it for free on the Bible App on your phone, or at biblegateway.com - then ask questions - get answers - meet Jesus.

In just under two weeks we will celebrate Easter. Celebrate all Jesus has done for us. It does not matter what our new normal is. What matters is remembering all God has done for us - and that He has promised to never leave us.

Easter is coming.

Work hard, celebrate with awe.

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